Study of perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and practices on HIV and condom use in adolescent gay men in the cities of La Paz and El Alto, in Bolivia

Published: August 1, 2008

Study of perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and practices on HIV and condom use in adolescent gay men in the cities of La Paz and El Alto, in Bolivia

Issues: In spite of the high degree of information adolescent gay men possess, it is known that they still involve in a series of sexual risk practices. For the first time in Bolivia a qualitative investigation in adolescent gay men on the factors that disseminate HIV and condom use was implemented. In this country de epidemic is concentrated among man that have sex with men, a situation that is affecting to the youngest more and more.

Description: Focal groups and in depth interviews with adolescents gay men were carried out. The recruitment was directed to adolescent gay men that frequent gay discotheques in La Paz and El Alto, as well as users of the chat #gaybolivia. The interviewers were peers which facilitated the obtaining of more trustworthy testimonies.

Lessons learned: Analysis of the information obtained, identified the following risk factors favouring HIV transmission: sexual relations under the influence of alcohol, few possibilities to negotiate condom use -especially when complying the passive role-, first sexual relation without condom, and difficulties in accessing condoms. In spite of a high level of theoretical knowledge a lot of misperceptions exist. The participants considered that because of their youth and greater access to information they are less vulnerable to HIV than the heterosexual population. Having sexual relations without a condom with a person they ‘know’, a person they love and with someone that complies certain beauty aspects, is not seen as sexual risk behaviour. The influence of the macho culture, the low level of self-esteem, the consolidation of the sexual orientation and the absence of negotiation skills were detected as causes of little or no self-protection.

Next steps: The results will be used in a project of preventive interventions, including peer education with self esteem and negotiation skills, diffusion of messages, and improvement of access to condoms.

-Abstract available at link below-

 

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